Concerned Delta APC Leaders condemns agitations against NDDC board nominations … Agitations could cause up tribal crisis if not checked

By Onitsha Shedrack—

 

Some  leaders of the Delta State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC that style itself as Concerned Delta APC Leaders has condemned the recent agitations by some party member over the President nomination of two prominent Deltans into the yet the constituted NDDC board.Engr. Adjogbe Samuel, EDP-NDDC Nominee

Describing the situation as pathetic developments which if not checked is capable of threatening the peaceful coexistence, social harmony and the future development of Delta state.

In statement issued at a press conference held at the party state secretariat, in Asaba, Delta State, jointly singed by Engr. Leonard Obibi,   Barr. Emmanuel Pippa and Barr. Aghogho Badaseraye, the leaders warned that this type of agitations caused the Ijaw-Itsekiri crisis, and should be avoided because, Delta state is one.

According to group; “the ongoing protests relating to the nominations of persons into the Board of NDDC is unwarranted and portrays us as a people that are disagreeable, disunited and who lack the ability to understand the dynamics of the politics of the day.

“Specifically, we observe that a few paid and seemingly disgruntled persons and groups using the Itsekiri ethnic nationality as a facade have been agitating against the absence of an Itsekiri indigene on the list of nominees forwarded by the President to the Senate for confirmation.

This has resulted in several newspaper publications, press conferences and protests for and against the said nominations. It is our belief that this trend could lead to tribal misunderstanding, and if not checked, could result in avoidable crisis.

The so-called Itsekiri agitators are insisting that an Itsekiri indigene, in person of Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, who had served as the Executive Director Projects (EDP) on the Board that was dissolved last year should be re-appointed to complete the remaining two years of the stipulated four-year tenure of the Board, or in his place, another Itsekiri indigene has to be appointed.

This argument has been based on Section 3 (3) of the NDDC Act which states that “Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Board, it shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to hold office for the remainder of the term, so however, that the successor represent the same interest…”.

Another argument is that there should be continuity of the appointment of the same ethnic indigene should a Board be dissolved mid-stream, as had been the “tradition”.
We will now state our positions based on the NDDC Act.

The APC leaders further stated that; “our opinion is that the nominations into the NDDC Board by Mr. President were done on merit and in line with Sections 2 (1) and 12 (1) of the NDDC Act, which stipulates that a total of 19 persons shall be appointed to the Board.

They added that, “the term “interest” represents a state, zone or function. No specific representation is made in the Act relating to tribal or ethnic interests, and this may have been intentional to avoid undue disputes and complications.

“On the issue of “tradition”, it is a fact that before now, replaced Board members were of the same ethnic group. However, it must be understood that this was an “internal arrangement” that existed during the tenure of the previous PDP administration, and such appointments were done either to meet its internal “zoning structure” or just for personal political convenience.

They also maintained that, “all Board replacements carried out in NDDC since inception till date have been done only in consideration of the 15 “interests” stated above, but never on the basis of tribe or ethnic groupings.

“For guidance, let us consider the current nominees forwarded to the Senate for some of the “interest” groups, namely: Managing Director for Akwa Ibom State, Executive Director Finance for Rivers State and Executive Director Projects for Delta State.
In none of the above cases was the nomination based on tribe or ethnicity; rather the “interest” represented was that of the state.

“This is exemplified by the fact that none of the nominees are of the same ethnic group as the previous Board Member. Therefore, Delta State cannot be an exception!

“To clarify this further, the immediate past Managing Director of the Board, Mr. Bassey Dan-Abia is from Esit Eket LGA of Eket Federal Constituency, while the present nominee, Mr. Nsima Udo Ekere is from Ikot Abasi LGA, an Ibibio by tribe, both of Akwa Ibom State. Also, the former Executive Director Finance, Mr. Henry Itotenaan Ogiri is an Abua-Odual LGA indigene, while his proposed replacement Mr. Derek Lenyie Mene is an Ogoni indigene of Rivers State.

The above indicates that it is not mandatory that the immediate past Executive Director Projects, Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli, who is an Itsekiri by tribe of Warri South LGA of Delta State, must be replaced by an Itsekiri indigene. Rather, what is paramount is that the person so nominated must be from an oil producing area of the state.

“In like manner, the nomination of Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, who is an Isoko by tribe, as Delta State Representative is appropriate by virtue of the fact that he is from an oil producing area.

“In this vein, Mr. President has acted within the ambit of the law by appointing Engr. Samuel Ajenakevwe Adjogbe, an Urhobo indigene from Evwreni of Ughelli North LGA of Delta State, which is an oil producing community in accordance with the provisions of the NDDC Act. The overarching interest in the above appointments is the growth and development of the Niger Delta region for the benefit of all Niger Deltans.

“Following from the above, the agitations emanating from these few people cannot be sustained because there is no legal basis for it. We have to remember that numerous Board appointments have been made by the President till date, and we are quite convinced that the consideration of continuity on the basis of tribe alone has not been a reason for the appointments.

“Delta State is one, and we are all brothers and sisters. We must note that agitations have become more frequent, and they cannot be dissociated from the selfish and nepotistic actions of some government appointees who act as though their appointments are to primarily serve their tribal interests, friends and cronies rather than serve the larger society.

“It is our view that the ongoing agitations are being orchestrated by selfish persons or groups who fear the loss of benefits that could accrue to them if Engr. Tuoyo Omatsuli is not re-appointed to the NDDC Board.

“We therefore implore our brothers and sisters to be peaceful, to cease further agitations in order to keep Delta State APC as one, and to remember that growth and development will only follow the path of peace. We encourage all Deltans, and especially our party members, to see reason with and support the action of Mr. President.

Therefore, “we Concerned Delta APC Leaders support the nomination of Engr. Samuel Ajenakevwe Adjogbe and Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo to represent the “interest” of Delta State in the NDDC Board, as both appointments are in consonance with the letter and spirit of the NDDC Act.
 

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